Officials from Cape Henlopen School District unveiled their concept plan for a renovated Milton Elementary School.
At Milton Planning and Zoning Commission’s Dec. 15 meeting, architect Zachary Crouch of Davis, Bowen and Friedel, said the school is proposing to build an addition to the school in the rear of the property and moving bus parking to the back. Crouch said the main access point will remain, coming in off Federal Street. The improvements also include a stormwater management system, which Crouch said the school will get a credit for from Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
“This old school did not have stormwater management,” he said.
Crouch said the front of the building will remain the same, albeit restored, in an effort to keep the iconic look of the school intact. The building was originally built in 1939. There will be two floors, with kindergarten, first, second and third graders on the first floor and additional third grade classes plus fourth and fifth graders on the second floor.
The interiors will be modified, and a new playground area will be installed in the back. The tennis courts will be removed, but the plan is to build new courts at H.O. Brittingham Elementary School, once the old school is demolished. The new school will include two soccer fields, Crouch said. In addition, the school district plans to build a walkway to connect the school to the soon-to-be built Rails to Trails extension.
“We’re going to keep the same building, just modify the interior portion of it and the rear of the building is where the addition will go on,” Crouch said.
Brian Bassett, supervisor of facilities for Cape Henlopen School District, said the design capacity of the school will allow for a maximum of 620 to 650 students, although the district anticipates 450 to 500 students by the time the school opens in 2021. While construction is ongoing, students at Milton elementary will use the old H.O. Brittingham school.
“We’re super excited. It’s almost a $30 million project, that’s a lot to invest into the town. We want it to look great for you,” Bassett said.
He said the entrance to the school will be in the rear of the building instead of the front in an effort to improve security. Also staying will be the gym and the auditorium, which will be restored. Bassett said he hoped the auditorium will be used not only by the school, but by the town for events.
What was presented was a concept plan, so no votes were taken; the presentation was a way for the district to answer questions from the commission before moving forward with more concrete engineering plans.
The next step for the school is to conduct engineering studies and putting together a site plan, which must be approved by the commission before the school district can move forward with putting out bids and then construction.